Shadow Side Saturday: When resentment and envy lead to bullying and ostracism?

I’ve noticed a somewhat disturbing trend among some police procedural shows – especially ones like Cold Case and Criminal Minds – very often the victim of the crime was a shining spirit, a unique and special individual. It’s as though they are sending a subtle (or maybe unsubtle) message that to be special, to rise above the average is worthy of punishment. It’s reminiscent of slasher flicks in which the rowdy, promiscuous and out of control teens are killed but the virginal “good girl” is spared.

You can see this message reinforced on any schoolyard in the country (maybe even the world); the mob mentality. Whenever a child is different – smarter, “nerdy”, awkward, vulnerable, the pack turns on that child. They mock and ostracize the child. Some children learn to adapt and blend in order to survive. Others suffer and eventually snap resulting in horrific situations like Columbine or suicide. There are some who endure, convinced that they will reap the benefits of their unique gifts as they grow older. They are often called adaptive children. They can look at the most horrific situations and see the silver lining.

I sometimes ponder if this type of attitude towards those who are different is because they hold up a mirror to us and we don’t like what we see.  In work situations, I’ve often seen it when a new employee full of new ideas and enthusiasm runs smack into the wall of apathy and dissatisfaction sometimes found in long-term employees.  The newcomer is mocked and derided for being so optimistic.  What is wrong with hopefulness and optimism?  Nothing, unless you have already jettisoned yours.  Why do resent someone else’s success?  Because we see it as a negative commentary on our current status.  Are we not as successful because we didn’t try as hard?  Is it really all about being in the right place at the right time or knowing the right people?  I’m not sure.  What I know is that I often feel an initial flash of resentment and envy at someone else’s good fortunes.  It doesn’t last and I usually acknowledge it but that doesn’t stop it from occurring.

Sometimes even the targets of this type of bullying can become bullies and ostracize peers if the circumstances are right. Have you ever seen a group of artistic students who mock the jock who wishes to participate in their activity? Or the “nerds” who mock the popular beauty queen? Is this a defense mechanism or revenge for past moments of ostracism? I’m not sure. This is certainly a much more complex topic than I can address within the confines of this blog.

What I do know is that I’ve caught myself doing it. When I attend events like the Tarot School’s Readers Studio, I have noticed that the larger the group, the most I self-select with whom I interact. I become more clique-ish and clubby. If I catch myself doing this I often make efforts to stop the behavior but it is usually so unconscious that I don’t realize it. It’s not an aspect of my personality of which I am proud. In fact It’s something I wish to minimize or eliminate altogether.

I would like to challenge anyone reading this blog post – let’s eliminate this tendency to mock or ostracize those who are different from us. Children are not the only ones who bully – adults are just more subtle about it. Let’s try to minimize this shadow in the world and teach children by our own examples. Reach out to someone who is different from you. Who knows maybe you’ll learn something transformative from them.

Fearless Friday: What do I need to be listening to right now? 3 of Cups R, 4 of Wands R + Prince of Swords (DruidCraft)

Greenman Oracle Saille/Willow

In divination, Saille can suggest a need to connect, listen to, or honor the ancestors, dead or alive. It may also draw attention to timing and flow, what currents are being joined or resisted.

Magically, Saille can be used for anything that flows. It is good for timing; knowing the proper moment for action. Saille is also good for moon-related work. For healing, this fid can be used in work for cleansing or encouraging blood flow, and for menstruation. As willow bark was the original source for aspirin, this fid is also good for pain relief.

Linked Concepts:  Ancestors and messages from the ancestors, death, the realm of the dead, time, tides, knowledge of time and proper timing, denial, impurity, music, honey and mead. (Erynn Rowan Laurie – Not Your Mama’s Tree Ogam)

What do I need to be listening to right now? 3 of Cups R, 4 of Wands R + Prince of Swords (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft 3 of Cups DruidCraft 4 of Wands DruidCraft Prince of Swords

As I drew each cards a voice in my head gave me a message. For the 3 of Cups it said “not your friends”. For the 4 of Wands it said “not your hubby”. For the Prince of Swords it said “listen to your brain”. Hmm, that almost seems to easy – my preference has always been to listen to my own mind, my own intellect and usually the messages I get send me in the other direction. So for once I can follow through on my own instincts.

Of course it’s never that easy. This message is also telling me that I really already know the answer to this question. I know what I need to be doing – not partying, celebrating and feasting (or generally engaging in unhealthy lifestyle choices). I need to get smart and start doing what I already know is in my best interests. I need to knuckle down and develop the discipline I need to follow this path. I don’t need to charge blindly ahead – in fact that would undermine the entire process. What I need to do is plan and follow through on those plans. I need to come up with a strategy that will help me stick with this new plan. I need to stay motivated and inspired – whatever steps needs to be taken.

I can really suck to know the answers because it means I’m lying to myself; deluding myself. I’m always in search of shortcuts (who isn’t?) but in this case (as with most other) the shortcuts have just lead to a lot of wasted effort and little results. I have better luck wishing for a genie to blink everything in order.

I need to accept that I am an addict. My addiction is sugar and carbs and there is not getting around that. No tricks I can use to make it better or allow me to cheat a little. I need to give it up completely. Otherwise all my efforts to make changes will prove fruitless and futile. Why waste my time and energy? It’s ironic that I know once I can get past a certain point with no sugar, I’ll stop craving and missing it but getting to that point has been a long, long haul. I realize that if I want to spend the remaining years of my life in good health and be a vibrant active woman then I need to get this crap in order and knock it off. I don’t doubt it will be a challenge but hopefully I’m up to it.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Where in my life am I frustrated? 9 of Cups, 4 of Swords + Prince of Pentacles R (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Quert/Apple

Today I drew the fid Ceirt.  Erynn Rowan Laurie writes this:  Ceirt, along with h-Úath, is one of the most challenging ogam feda. Its meaning of a rag or a shrub links it in my mind with the practice of tying rags to clootie trees in Ireland and Scotland as an appeal for healing (McManus uses the “shrub” or “bush” definition, while Meroney suggested that the word was translated as “a rag”. I found the connections between both of these suggested meanings useful enough that I have chosen to use both, though Meroney’s definition is probably not correct.). These trees are often found at sacred wells or on fairy mounds, and are significant for being very much associated with Otherworldly beings and energies that can be fickle and unpredictable.

The apple, on the other hand, is often associated with the Otherworld in its most positive aspects. In fact, one of the Irish Otherworlds was named Eamhain Ablach, the Realm of Apples. It is one of the favored mythological foods throughout the Celtic islands, not unlike hazelnuts. Found on magical branches and eaten in Otherworldly feasts, the apple looms large in insular Celtic myth.

The complex of meanings surrounding this fid often point to intense frustration and even self-destructive activity. When it comes up in a reading, be careful of sudden changes in fortune or capricious individuals. It’s associated with bad luck and with psychological problems, but because of its linked association with clootie trees, there can also be an element of hope to this fid that h-Úath lacks. In divination, it can point to a situation of poverty or illness that is temporary, or to setbacks in a person’s life or situation.

Misfortune, frustration, poverty, illness, and bad luck are part and parcel of Ceirt’s chthonic current. A need for caution or retreat may manifest here, reflecting difficult physical or emotional circumstances. You may be approaching a situation with timidity, damaging yourself in the process. Look to the surrounding feda for clarification of your situation. When dealing with difficult people, malice may be involved; be sure it is not your own. Be very careful that you are not acting as your own worst enemy.

Linked Concepts: Poverty, illness, fleeing, retreat, madness, insanity, ill luck without total loss, psychological issues and problems, the hope for healing from illness or madness.

So I asked Tarot:  Where in my life am I frustrated? 9 of Cups, 4 of Swords + Prince of Pentacles R (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft 9 of Cups 53 DruidCraft Prince of Pentacles

So let’s see, I’m frustrated in having my wishes granted, getting some true rest and moving forward to manifest my goals and desires. Gee, isn’t that just grand! Okay I’m being facetious but the reality is that this is a pretty accurate description.

My wishes are fairly simply right not but not very likely to happen because I want my life back. That is just not in the cards right now. How appropriate that this fid is associated with frustration, misfortune and even madness because those words are an accurate description of how I feel right now. The lordly figure on this card seems to be celebrating his good fortune, surveying his wealth and gifts. I can’t do that right now. Not that I don’t have blessings (I do and I’m grateful for them). It’s simply that I can’t focus on them. It’s hard to appreciate the good things in your life when the frustrating, exhausting ones are more assertive.

The 4 of Swords points out that I’m frustrated because I feel as though I get no rest; not time to myself just to think. Meditation, study, even simply pondering life are difficult right now. I suppose it isn’t fair to say it’s impossible but it’s extremely challenging. I wish I had time to sit in the lea of a tree and think important thoughts.

The Prince of Pentacles reversed is reminding me that I’m frustrated by my own lack of progress. It’s one thing to be cautious and practical in one’s pursuits and endeavors. It’s another to be stuck in place and never move forward. I can’t shield or protect myself from what is going on in my life but that doesn’t meed things should stay at a standstill. That might be the most frustrating aspect of all.

I can’t say these frustrations are surprising. They reinforce what I already know. Assessing these frustrations with an impartial eye might help me figure out how to change them. I realize that won’t happen all at once but taking even a baby step will help change this dynamic and perhaps lessen some of this frustration.

These cards have also reinforced something that’s been bothering me lately – my tendency to avoid. I am starting to believe I’ve raised avoidance to an art form. I’ve always been a procrastinator. In fact throughout high school and college I was notorious for waiting until the last minute to complete assignments (unless I was working as part of a team). I always received good grades so the incentive to change this behavior just wasn’t there. My hubby used to joke that if I actually applied myself I’d have a 4.0 GPA. I just wasn’t that motivated to try any harder. AT my core, I think I’m rather lazy.

This laziness is a rut, a defense mechanism. If I don’t actually try anything then I can’t actually fail at it. It’s a ridiculous response to this situation but at the same time there is a certain logic to it. The problem with is that I still end up feeling like a failure. I am a smart, accomplished, caring and loving person. I can be funny and generous and I can be harsh and judgmental (in other words I’m perfectly human like everyone else). I need to find ways to motivate and inspire myself so that I break free of this rut and manifest the changes of which I know I’m capable.

DruidCraft Prince of Swords

I asked that Tarot one last question about this issue “How can I change this pattern?” and I drew the Prince of Swords. I need to harness my energies, make a plan and stick with it. Planning and follow through are going to be the keys to changing these frustrations. At the same time I need to embrace the messages I’ve received over the past few days about healing. I still have healing work to do on myself and I need to be careful not to beat myself up if things don’t change as quickly as I think they should. It’s a fine balancing act and one that will take effort and focus to achieve.

Woe Is Me Wednesday: What work am I starting? Strength R, 9 of Swords R + 8 of Pentacles (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Ailm

When Ailm appears in divination, a new thing is coming into being. Someone may be pregnant or about to give birth, or you may be starting a new project, full of energy and the initial spark of enthusiasm. Your creativity is strong here, and you may find yourself on the brink of discovery, an epiphany waiting to happen.

Spiritually, you may be at the point of initiation, waiting in pregnant pause for that step over the threshold into a new life. It is possible that you are being presented with opportunities for new knowledge and understanding, or beginning a course of study, whether spiritual or mundane. An idea you’ve received may be at a point where incubation, persistence, and endurance are necessary, nurturing its growth for the birth to come, or it may be ready now to bring forth into manifestation.

Linked Concepts: Birth and death as beginnings, the cycle of life, origination, inception, conception, creation, children, pregnancy, initial understanding, epiphany.  (Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie)

What work am I starting? Strength R, 9 of Swords R + 8 of Pentacles (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Strength DruidCraft 9 of Swords DruidCraft 8 of Pentacles

I’m not sure why but this reading seem a bit ominous to me. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it but my initial interpretation to these three cards is that I’m entering a phase where inner strength, will and fortitude won’t help. In fact it might prove to be a hindrance. The 9 of Swords reversed may be indicating the nightmare is reaching an end but that end won’t be easy. The 8 of Pentacles may be letting me know that my current work is reaching its conclusion.

On one level I wonder if it refers to the situation with my in-laws. Is something due to shift? Is this part of my life going to change? Ailm’s message of birth and death and the cycle of life add an extra layer of meaning here. I don’t see this reading as indicating pregnancy or children – that ship has sailed. It might suggest new creative beginnings but that doesn’t quite fit the cards I’ve drawn.

I think these cards are giving me a heads up, a warning. The change might not be in the immediate future but it is coming – possibly within the next few months. I realize that the mother-in-law’s death is inevitable (it’s inevitable for us all) but I think this reading is telling me it’s time to start making preparations – both mental and physical. The work I am starting is to make sure those preparations are begun and hopefully in place by the time they are necessary.

Tarot Tyr’s Day: The Empress – Mansions of the Moon Tarot

Mansion of the Moon Tarot Empress

Mansions of the Moon
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The author says: Traditional fertility.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: This is Eve, the archetypal mother; the first female. She offers us life and fertility, abundance and fruitfulness. She also carries the potential for growth and expansion, for sensuality and creativity.

The Empress is that part of us that enjoys feeling silk upon our skin and enjoys exploring the different textures, scents and tastes that surround us every day. She gifts us with the curiosity to explore new sensations and taste new things.

Connecting to this card was a bit challenging to me because something about her expression is a bit distant – as though she may have given us birth but doesn’t care to be involved in raising us. She also doesn’t strike me as the type that would enjoy soothing injuries and and helping with homework. She seems fruitful but not nurturing, fertile but not loving. She strikes me as being almost the stereotypical cold mother. She may have given birth to the child but doesn’t possess the skills needed to nurture, love and raise that child. This Empress has probably sent quite a few adults to therapy.

Soulful Saturday: Community cookbooks – a spiritual and emotional connection to a savory past

I have to admit I have a bit of an addiction – to collecting cookbooks. I find that reading cookbooks can sometimes take me away from the stress and aggravations that surround me. I really enjoy community cookbooks because they offer insights into how people in different parts of the country cook and entertain.

There are also certain patterns I’ve noticed. Older cookbooks tend to be a bit more regional. I’ve noticed that since the 1990s many community cookbooks are a bit more generic and less regional. You’re as likely to find recipes for Asian dishes in a Texas community cookbook as you are to find barbecue recipes. The late 1960s-1980s offered community cookbooks filled with “dump & pour” recipes relying on convenience foods.

Some community cookbooks are filled with information about the community such as sites of interest or historical tidbits. Others offer blurbs by the recipe’s contributor that give some info about where or how it originated. Some of the recipes are very down-home style whiles others are more sophisticated or gourmet.

One of my favorite collections is called America’s Best Recipes. This collection was published annually by Oxmoor House from 1988-2003. It collected what the editors considered the best recipes from various community cookbooks submitted for consideration. McIlhenny Tabasco also sponsored annual awards from 1990 to 2009 for the best community cookbooks from each region and the top three nationwide. They also had a Hall of Fame where the best selling community cookbooks of all time are memorialized (this list includes such classics as Savannah Style, Charleston Receipts and Pirate’s Pantry).

Reading these community cookbooks gives me a sense of connection to the people who created these recipes. Across time and space I can make their recipes and keep their memory alive. It makes me feel like a bit of a food historian. This is important to me because the women in my family were not very domesticated (I may have mentioned this before). We don’t have family recipes that were handed down. My ancestress’ primary mode of feeding the family was very plain, inexpensive and filling and tended to involved some type of convenience food. We might not have gone hungry but no one was clamoring for those recipes.

Food is a spiritual medium for connecting with our family, our past and those who have gone before. It’s interesting and enlightening to learn why certain dishes developed the way they did or why certain foods were popular in specific regions. In recent years America is losing some of its regional diversity. In some ways this is very good but when it comes to food I think it means some of each region’s unique foodways might be lost. So read a community cookbook today and connect with the past; keep those memories alive in spirit and honor their contributions.

How can I start healing myself? Prince of Pentacles R, 7 of Wands + Justice (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle NGetal

“When nGétal appears in divination, it suggests that health is or should be a priority now. It may indicate the danger of injury when paired with h-Úath or other challenging feda. In positive readings, it may suggest that an injury or illness is healing, or that a course of treatment for a chronic health problem may be going well. It can be a reminder to watch your health or to get something checked on that you might otherwise consider minor. It is a very hopeful fid to draw for those who are ill, as it implies active and progressing healing and the restoration of health and wellbeing.

Linked Concepts: Wounding, death, beneficial magic, healers and doctors, good health, wellbeing, regeneration, hope.” – Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie

Based on the insights offered in Erynn’s Ogam book, I asked the Tarot this question:

How can I start healing myself? Prince of Pentacles R, 7 of Wands + Justice (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Prince of Pentacles DruidCraft 7 of Wands DruidCraft Justice

I see the reversed Prince of Pentacles as telling me that I’m going to slow; being too plodding. It’s one thing to be cautious and well-prepared; another to procrastinate. I’m procrastinating. I know what steps I need to take to improve my health but I’m putting them off. Avoidance will cure nothing. If I want to manifest good health in my life and heal my body then I need to take action. I don’t need to go from zero to 60 in 10 seconds flat but I at least need to start making a few changes.

The 7 of Wands is telling me I need to be more fierce and vigilant in guarding and defending my personal space and time. Yes, I’m in a situation where I need clearly defined alone time – no internet, no cell phone and no in-laws. So far I’ve been putting my needs in this area as very low on the priority list, something easily ignored or put off until later. I need to stop doing that for my own mental health.

Justice is reminding me that balance and fairness are important. I’ve lost sight of that. To be fair to the in-laws, I also need to figure out ways to meet their needs for physical and intellectual stimulation too. Maybe a walk outside or watching the ducks would do it. Sometimes the mom-in-law can’t focus on things like that but it’s worth a shot. Of course it would also be a good idea to make sure I’m meeting my own needs for physical and mental stimulation. Watching TV and browsing the internet are all well and good but they should be kept to a minimum.

I think I’m finally getting on the right track. If I take it slow and easy I think I’ll eventually reach my goal. I sometimes have a tendency to want immediate results and when that doesn’t happen I quit. It’s time to change those patterns because clearly they are not working for me.